Thursday, June 21, 2012

I wanna go fast

I was having a chat conversation with some co-workers about our dislike of current speed limits and our desire to go fast, countered with the inability of others to drive sensibly.  We came up with some thoughts about how to make this possible, not that it WOULD happen, but it would be awesome.


One problem in Maryland is that there is no keep right, pass left law.  Having drivers going fast and drivers going slower on the same road already happens today (such as people driving below the limit and those going a bit above) and it can be especially dangerous when someone is doing five-below the limit is cruising in the left lane.  WHY are they in the left lane?  Are they passing someone?  No.  In fact, many people are pulling right, passing them and getting back left.  (And those people shouldn't necessarily be getting back left either).  Speed doesn't kill, speed difference kills.  But even in Germany where you have people doing 200kph or higher in the left lane, and those doing 100kph in the right, it works because there is order to the chaos.  You only get left if there is an opening and you only stay left long enough to pass someone.  It is both against the law to stay to the left and to pass on the right.  


Supposedly, the prevalence of left exists is one of the reasons a keep right, pass left law has never been passed.  Granted, it would be possible to keep some of them, but all-in-all, traffic does flow much better when all exists are done from the right, and all entries from there as well.


Want to drive faster?  Pay up!  But not in the form of tickets.  Your car should have to be safety inspected annually, or biannually at worst.  Additional driver testing of some sort should be required, similar to a high-performance driving event offered at a race track.  This certification would only be valid for a certain amount of time and would have to be renewed.  If you cause an accident while driving at high speed, the faster license would be revoked.  Additional insurance would be required which covered high-speed incidents OR there would be limits on the level of liability of existing insurance.


Just because you got a license, doesn't mean you get to keep it until it is pried from your cold dead hands.  Require license renewals to have actual driving tests.  Maybe not every renewal, but every other potentially.  There are plenty of drivers on the roads that shouldn't be there.

All of this above could lead to greater income for the state through the additional licensing, inspection and testing fees.  They shouldn't be done in such a way that make it impossible for drivers willing to stay under the limit from being able to still afford it, but there are enough people who want higher speeds that can drive revenue.

So, all that is fine and dandy, but I doubt any of the above will happen, at least not until such a point where they have to pry the steering wheel from my hands (note, not my license, my steering wheel...I WANT TO DRIVE most of the time, not have my car drive itself).  So, what about a compromise.


Nevada has something called the Open Road Challenge.  They close down a public road to cross traffic and allow people to register to drive that road as though it were a race track.  They hold events twice a year recording to the website.  So what road in Maryland would be a good choice?  Hmm...what limited access highway has few exits and wouldn't be used as much on the weekend.  I know....the ICC!  A few times a year, make the ICC a time-trial raceway of sorts.  If the barriers in the center are sufficient, you could even have it run in both directions, and each person would get a run down & back for the price of admission.  The state would have to recoup the amount of the tolls that they would have earned normally on a weekend.  Drivers should be able to buy insurance specifically for the event.  Drivers should be released at regular intervals to provide spacing and measures could be taken to prevent two people from racing directly (have checkpoints and if two drivers are too close together at two checkpoints they are kicked off the road).  

It needs to be priced reasonably to get enough demand to make up for the cost, but not so low that the road is overly crowded.  Choose a price-point and a highest possible number of registrations.  Think it would never take off?  I was seriously considering driving to Nevada for the open road challenge, participating, and driving back, despite the cost.  I WOULD do it if it were in state and at a reasonable price.  All I ask is that if Maryland executes such a plan, that I get two guaranteed slots for my wife and I.


Unknown said...

The ICC race day would be awesome!

Unknown said...

Left exits are the bane of my existence